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Great Eastern

Stock Chart
Last Done 18.750
Change -0.130 (-0.69%)
Volume 7.5
Range 18.710 - 18.950

Prudential USD

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Higher premiums work, but they're no magic pill

17 Sep 2019 09:00

By Genevieve Cua

POLICYHOLDERS of Integrated Shield plans (IP), particularly those catering for private hospitals, have suffered relatively steep premium hikes over the past few years - both for their base plan and riders - especially at older ages.

Are there more hikes in the offing? The good news is that IP insurers have made strides to shore up their health portfolios. Most have significantly reduced underwriting losses in 2018. Prudential, a leading IP provider, is the only insurer to report a dramatic rebound into the black - a profit of S$42.73 million in 2018, vs losses of S$14.95 million in 2017 and S$18.67 million in 2016.

The improvement in insurers' underwriting results for their individual medical expense portfolios - understood largely to comprise Shield plans - is good news, as it suggests that costs pressures in the form of outsized claims may be mostly under control. The results for 2018 reverse the trend in 2016 and 2017 of deepening losses and higher claims.

The not-so-good news is that based on 2018 data, it is likely that most of the gains were due to premium hikes, which by themselves do not address the core issues of over-consumption of healthcare services and over-charging among healthcare providers.

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Source: Business Times

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